Every day, customers come and go through the dealership service drive, the happy result of effective sales and digital marketing efforts that span all aspects of your business.
Increasingly, that flow of business is dictated by online activity. Indeed, according to Google, 4-in-5 customers use search engines to find information before making a purchase decision – the first stop on a journey that will take them to your website.
While the use of websites, search and social media is a fact of life, dealership efforts to market across these channels can be frustrating. Here are three simple, realistic and affordable things your team can do to help improve your store’s digital marketing efforts:
#1: Start a Customer Success Blog
Success stories happen at your dealership service department every day – and many are worth sharing. The customer who came in over the weekend with an unexpected repair need, or the harried commuter who must squeeze a service appointment between three meetings and a soccer practice…all are potential stories that accurately depict the commitment your team makes to deliver excellent customer service. The key is consistency: decide how you plan to write up the story, who will do it, and how often. Just once a month is a perfect start.
The tough part? Commitment. Stick to it for one year and support it as a priority. You’ll be glad you did, because showcasing customer success stories is a powerful way to use digital marketing to show the value your dealership provides. It also helps to improve overall search results to your dealership website and illustrates how your service department actively cares and shares their good work. Connect the blog to your website service pages, and online appointment section, so that potential customers will see the stories while they’re looking for service pricing and appointment tools.
#2: Tell Your Service Story
Your website is a vital sales and marketing tool – and that goes double for the service department. In general, potential customers value dealership service departments because of the expertise they provide and the value-add of better customer service.
That doesn’t mean they’re just going to show up, however: customers look for confirmation that they’ll get what they’re looking for when they visit your website. Show them just how strong your team is by adding a service-related content to your “About Us” page on your website. Add a section about certifications that shows just how much a technician needs to know about your vehicles before they get the tools out. Illustrate your service commitment and benefits, such as free wi-fi, available loaner vehicles, shuttles, and more.
Sure, independent shops may be able to beat you on price. But they can’t beat the expertise of your team or the value of your service. Show that where it matters most, on your dealer website and via digital marketing. That’s where many customers make their minds up about where to go.
#3: Think Search, SEO and Google E.A.T
When it comes to revenue and profit, service departments are often the foundation of your dealership. That’s common knowledge. But they’re also a major pillar to the overall success of your digital campaigns, whether meant to boost ROs or new car sales.
Why? Search. According to Google, 53% of searchers click on the first organic result – and 25% click on the second or third result. The fact is that Google and Bing control the traffic flow of vast numbers of potential customers. That makes it vitally important to produce parts and service-related content, invest in Search Engine Marketing (SEM) to drive targeted traffic to your website and commit to a consistent social media approach – including just primary channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The importance of SEO and SEM just can’t be overstated when it comes to using digital marketing. And it’s something that requires expertise in the space. For example, over the past few years it has become clear just how important authoritative content is to Google search rankings. The company uses the acronym E.A.T to gauge the level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness found on a website – especially for commerce websites that promote the sale and service of complicated products – like cars. Google’s E.A.T rating impacts the quality rating of your dealership’s website, which ultimately dictates ranking in good and bad ways. Here’s a basic overview:
Expertise: Show your skill and expertise. As in #2 above, use service to prove your expertise. It’s vital to build content on your service pages that support the expertise found at your service drive every day.
Authoritativeness: If your website has a service forum or community, actively monitor the conversation in terms of quality; nonsense threads will bring down your authority score. In addition, consider adding short bios about your service manager and senior service employees. Google likes to see authority!
Trustworthiness: Consider adding basic service pricing to your website. Your customers will appreciate it, and it may help improve search results thanks to Google’s “T” in E.A.T. At a minimum, make sure your website has an active SSL certificate.
How Can Dealer-FX Help?
At Dealer-FX, our mission is to help automotive dealerships transform the customer experience by providing leading-edge marketing services that help to deliver the right message at the right time — via the right digital channel. How can we help you? Click here to learn more about Dealer-FX Connect.